The law of karma


The law of karma governs the universe and all beings within it; it acts impersonally and binds each atman (inner Self) to the world and in addition to the cycle of transmigration. The law of karma acts impersonally, yet we may meaningfully interpret its results as either positive (punya) or negative (papa) — terms describing actions leading the Self either toward or away from the spiritual goal. Karma is further graded as: white (shukla), black (krishna), mixed (shukla-krishna) or neither white nor black (ashukla-akrishna). The latter term describes the karma of the jnani, who, as Rishi Patanjali says, is established in kaivalya, freedom from prakriti through realization of the Self. Similarly, one’s karma must be in a condition of ashukla-akrishna, quiescent balance, in order for liberation to be attained. This equivalence of karma is called karmasamya, and is a factor that brings malaparipaka, or maturity of anava mala. It is this state of resolution in preparation for samadhi at death that all Hindus seek through making amends and settling differences.


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